Sunday, December 15, 2013

Advent XV

As strange as it seems to us and as much as we might like to change it, once again Advent scriptures put John the Baptist on center stage.  We listen to the secular voices telling us how many shopping days are left before Christmas and we sense this spiritual panic rising up in us.  We want to be faithful to the spirit of the Advent season.  We want to be patient in this season of waiting.  But, the days are running out.  Christmas is nearer than it has been all year and getting nearer every moment and we wonder if it is not about time for baby Jesus to make an appearance.
We cannot help but wonder about the church fathers long centuries ago who created this season of readings and rituals that keep us looking at John the Baptist when all we want to see is Jesus in the manger.  Of course,  John is the official announcer when it comes to Jesus appearing.  The gospel writer John (John 1:6-9, 19-28) tells us that the Baptizer was sent from God.  There was purpose in both his birth and in his mission.  This man of the wilderness certainly understood his place in the divine scheme for when asked who he was, he spoke of himself as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah.  When asked who he was, he said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord." 

Even as the people of Jesus' day needed this voice calling for personal change, so do we.  No one should ever consider coming into the presence of the Holy One sent from God without spending time getting ready.  The "getting ready" is not about what to wear as it might be for some important person, but about what is in our heart.  Looking at the source of all desires and seeking divine help so that inward change might result in a more obedient lifestyle is what John the Baptist calls us to do to get ready for Jesus.  It is important that we hear and heed.

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